The Malta Independent 21 May 2019, Tuesday

TMID Editorial: AD resignation - Losing people

Tuesday, 19 February 2019, 11:37 Last update: about 4 months ago

It is unfortunately quite common for political parties to lose some of their very best elements. Alternattiva Demokratika which has now lost Arnold Cassola is one such case.

First of all, the man. A peripatetic researcher and writer who learnt Turkish to decipher what the Turks told their masters for leaving Malta without conquering it. An author who delved into old Maltese connections with Licata and the southern fringe of Sicily.


A politician who became an Italian MP within the Green Party. And most recently a man with a pungent pen and camera to highlight some of the more degrading scenes one can find around Malta.

Looking back, one can see how his path diverged from the rest of his party. There may also have been a generational gap as many of the new recruits are young and have different opinions. When Harry Vassallo was hounded in the media and left for pastures new, Arnold was practically the only one left of the old generation of AD leaders, except for that other warhorse, Carmel Cacopardo.

Arnold left on a matter of principle, abortion, or actually the mere mention of the possibility that some day, abortion will be allowed in Malta. It seems the younger cohort in the party did not feel so adamant that abortion must never sully these fair isles.

In his reply to Cassola, party leader Cacopardo seems to say the issue should have been debated internally within the party rather than someone (Cassola) making a public issue on the matter and then taking unilateral decisions.

Cassola picked on the abortion issue to make a stand. He says nothing about the recent initiative to get AD to work more closely with the Partit Demokratiku. Probably PD will share Cassola’s opposition to abortion, at least considering Godfrey Farrugia’s recent and past declarations.

Cacopardo also said that AD is against abortion but he seems to be open on the need of a wide debate on this issue, considering that whatever the law still says, the amount of women who have abortion elsewhere is as high as that in Europe. Cassola himself says he is against abortion, except where the mother’s life is in jeopardy.

The two opinions, Cassola’s and Cacopardo’s, are not all that distant from each other and maybe could have been moved on to a compromise.

Still, this is the end of a political militancy after 30 adventurous years, which saw the small and young party come within a whisker of breaking the stranglehold of the two main parties (not forgetting that there was a time when AD was in Parliament, but that was because Wenzu Mintoff moved out of PL). Again, Cassola was the last man standing in the 2004 EP election. The party tried hard to get a foothold but the time was not right and the two parties were still so strong that the intermediate parties were again pushed out. One gets the impression that Cassola, after militating so many years in this unenviable situation, has now given up.

He had, still has, a role and a voice perhaps wider than that of AD.


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